Arsenal newcomer branded ’embarrassing’ while fellow recent recruit can’t be trusted after Europa League errors

Mikel Arteta managing Arsenal Credit: Alamy
Mikel Arteta managing Arsenal Credit: Alamy

Two fairly new members of the Arsenal squad have come in for criticism for their roles in the side’s 2-2 draw with Sporting in the first leg of their Europa League tie.

Arsenal went 1-0 up in Lisbon, with William Saliba striking first in their round of 16 tie. However, the hosts were able to equalise later in the first half, when Goncalo Inacio got them back on level terms.

In the second half, Paulinho put Sporting ahead, before an own goal by Hidemasa Morita made it 2-2. Hence, it will be all to play for in the second leg.

But question marks have already been raised about the first goal Arsenal conceded on the night.

Inacio’s goal was a header after a corner. For a few pundits, neither goalkeeper Matt Turner nor defender Jakub Kiwior were convincing enough in how they tried to stop the goal.

Speaking on BT Sport‘s coverage of the match, former England women’s goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis pointed out where Turner could have done more.

“He doesn’t command his area,” Brown-Finnis told BT Sport. “He knows it’s going to be an inswinger so you’ve got to be a little bit flat to your line. But he’s not set so he’s moving. Therefore, if you’re moving, you can’t make a decision and go for it.

“He has to command this. It’s three yards out, he’s got to go and make contact, got to clatter the player. He’s uncontested, that doesn’t help Matt Turner that Kiwior just does nothing, almost shrugs away. That, to me, indicates he’s had a shout. We’ve not seen anything to say that, but the keeper’s got to come.”

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Ex-Arsenal defender Martin Keown then added that a lack of conviction from the keeper may mean that the backline ahead of him won’t be able to trust him yet.

“What I’d be saying, if I’m playing regularly with this keeper, I’m going to have to go and head things because I can’t necessarily trust him,” Keown said. “I hope it’s a one-off.”

Arsenal defending ‘abysmal’ for Sporting goal

Elsewhere, one-time England striker Dean Ashton blamed both Turner and Kiwior, calling the latter “embarrassing” for the error on his debut.

“It is a carbon copy of the Arsenal goal,” Ashton told talkSPORT 2.

“A brilliant left-footed inswinging corner, Matt Turner, very similar to [Sporting goalkeeper Antonio] Adan, did absolutely nothing, feet rooted to his spot and in drifts Inacio.

“Nobody picking him up, Kiwior ducked underneath it which is embarrassing I have to say.

“And Inacio just headed it in – guided it in into the far corner – abysmal defending from Arsenal.”

Despite that blip, the Premier League leaders are even in the tie ahead of the second leg on their own turf next week. Coming either side of games against Fulham and Crystal Palace, it will be interesting to see what kind of lineup Mikel Arteta chooses.

In this case, two of the lesser used members of his squad might not have done themselves many favours, but they are still at early stages of their Arsenal careers.

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